Dustin Poirier is the top-ranked contender in the UFC’s stacked lightweight division, and “The Diamond” has basically been guaranteed by UFC president Dana White to have the next crack at UFC lightweight champion Charles Oliveira. But after defeating UFC superstar Conor McGregor by TKO in the first round in the main event of UFC 264 on Saturday night in Las Vegas to punch that ticket to wherever he wants to go, Poirier has another huge choice to make in regards to his future with the company.
Should Poirier take the immediate title shot? Or should he go after the fight that would earn him the most money possible?
It’s the same choice he was faced with making before choosing to fight McGregor again in an immediate rematch after UFC 257, and now he’ll have to make a similar decision following UFC 264.
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Same Choice, Different Options
After Poirier defeated McGregor six months ago, he had a choice to make. He could either fight McGregor next in an immediate rematch or fight another fighter to fill the vacant UFC lightweight championship. He chose to face McGregor, and that left Oliveria and Michael Chandler the chance to fight for gold at UFC 262.
After defeating McGregor at UFC 264, Poirier has the same choice to make but with different options on the table.
This time, he can either face Oliviera next with the Brazilian’s UFC gold on the line, or he could go again after the biggest possible payday.
That means Poirier could choose to face Nate Diaz next.
Earlier this year at UFC 262 in Houston, there was talk among the pundits at the media table about Poirier vs Diaz.
In short, there are some insiders in the sport who believe Poirier has started to lean into his role as a prizefighter (with the emphasis on the prize, or money), and that facing Diaz coming off a loss to welterweight contender Leon Edwards at UFC 263 will do nothing to dissuade Poirier from wanting that fight for the simple reason he would make more money doing it.
Indeed, Diaz has remained an incredibly marketable and popular fighter despite his decision loss to Edwards at UFC 263, and the final-round punch that almost netted Diaz the shocking victory that night makes selling him as a promotable contender against a fighter from a weight class below him that much easier.
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Poirier vs. Diaz Long Overdue
The two stars were supposed to fight each other back in 2018 at UFC 230 in a lightweight bout, but Poirier was forced to withdraw from that fight due to an injury.
Since that happened, the two stars have continued their online feud about why the fight never happened, and where the blame lies.
Poirier pulled out of the fight, and that can’t be disputed. But he said afterward that it was only because Diaz had begun to negotiate himself out of the fight anyway.
Regardless, after beating McGregor at UFC 257 about six months ago, Poirier revealed to Joe Rogan on his podcast that he still had Diaz on his mind.
“Before I’m done fighting, I’ll go up to 170. Yeah, I’ll go up to 170 to fight Nate,” Poirier said.
He could feel the same way right about now, too.
No Wrong Choice for Poirier
Now that Poirier has defeated McGregor for the second time in a row, it might make some sense for him to think about facing Diaz next instead of taking the title shot against Oliveira.
The UFC could easily slide Justin Gaethje into the slot to be Oliveria’s first title defense, and Poirier could plan to face the winner of that fight after facing Diaz.
Besides, what better way for Poirier to get back at McGregor for all those wild things about Poirier and his wife than to pursue what might be the former UFC champ champ’s last remaining hope for another UFC superfight?
There’s a good chance Diaz wouldn’t mind sticking it to McGregor, too. He’s been waiting for over five years for his trilogy fight to happen against McGregor, and he might like for that shoe to finally go on the other foot.
Except for this time, of course, that foot would be broken. McGregor suffered a devastating injury at UFC 264, and he’ll likely be out of action for some time.
Regardless, Poirier has a huge choice to make after defeating McGregor at UFC 264, and he can’t really go wrong either way.
Whether he faces Oliveira next for gold, or Diaz for a big pile of money, the world is his oyster after beating McGregor for the second straight time.
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